The Institute of Incoming Tourism Operators (IITO)and the Israel Hotel Association called on the government, Thursday, to sign an agreement with the European Union to open Israeli routes to more competition in the interest of developing incoming tourism. The call was in response to a strike threat by Israeli airline workers on Sunday if the government signs the "open skies" agreement.
Claiming to speak on behalf of car-rental agencies, tour guides and 200,000 households who earn a living from tourism, the IITO said the agreement would strengthen the economy by creating more jobs. It said the lowering of prices from competition would be good for the Israeli consumer, while not signing the agreement as a result of union pressure represented "an improper sectoral preference of minority interest at the expense of the good of the majority". A statement by the institute concluded that "Preservation of the Israeli aviation sector must not harm development of Israeli incoming tourism."